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December 4, 2001

In this age of politically correct awareness, it comes as no surprise that more of our cherished, traditional phrases appear to be under assault this year. Some of the recent additions to the list of no-no's apparently have to do with the way we speak and write about Christmas, perhaps the most meaningful time of the year for many people. The universal greeting once was "Merry Christmas!" But have you noticed that we are now hearing "Happy Holiday" instead of the usual phrase? That's what they use on many so-called Christmas cards these days, and in advertisements on various media. Most surprising of all, however, is the substitution of "holiday tree" for "Christmas tree." We are seeing and hearing more of that "new," supposedly sanitized way on radio, TV and in print ads, for no apparent reason, but we'd have to conclude that the so-called 'old" way is offensive or objectionable to some segment of the population. Offensive? Objectionable? Give me a break.

I've learned to accept a lot of these wacky changes, but I'm not ready to substitute the generic "holiday" for the name of the season when we celebrate the birth of Christ. I do reluctantly use the abbreviated form, "Xmas," when space requires, but I am assured by preacher friends that the X" is Greek for the letter "Chi" and that has been understood to mean Christ for something like 2,000 years. It may be OK, but it still seems wrong. Call me a fogey, but I'm not budging.

While on the subject of Christmas, let me throw in another plug for the annual Perry Tour of Homes on Sunday afternoon, December 9, between 1 and 5 p.m.. As usual, the tour will end with an informal tea at the Cherokee Strip Museum on West Fir Avenue. Five decorated homes are on the itinerary and those folks always go to a lot of extra work to make this a worthwhile event. Tickets bought in advance are $6 at Foster's Corner Drug Store. Thorn Originals and the Rose Petal. The ticket price bought at the door on the day of the Tour is $7. Proceeds will make possible the purchase of more Christmas decorations for our city. And if you haven't seen the brilliant display of lights in the courthouse park, drive downtown any evening and you will find a delightful array to help brighten your spirit in this blessed CHRISTMAS season.

Still more on this subject: The annual Madrigal Dinner-Concert at Oklahoma State University is now underway nightly. You know what a treat that event is if you have seen it previously. Some of the most gifted students at OSU provide an evening of Christmas carols and other seasonal selections - and this year that includes a humorous rendition of "Rudolphus Rubrinasus" ("Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer") done in Madrigal style. Three OSU band members serve as Herald Trumpeters, and one of them is Perry's own Steve Luthye, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Luthye. The show goes on nightly starting at 7 p.m. and including an excellent Madrigal dinner. This is one of the least ballyhooed but finest Christmas offerings and you really should try to take it in.

Recommended for the Christmas season is an excellent book by the late Jim Bishop. Actually it is two best-selling books, "The Day Christ Was Born" and "The Day Christ Died," both available singly or all in one volume. The stories are told in documentary style with worlds of good information that I've not found anywhere else. Try the local Carnegie library or your favorite book store.